Heavy plate armour is not favoured in Vaarn, due to the extreme heat the region experiences during much of the year. Nevertheless, the denizens of the blue ruin have ample need to protect their person from all manner of threats, and thus follows a brief primer on the protective clothing, both common and uncommon, that one might expect to see in Vaarn.
War Shirt – tasseled fighting-cassock of the Faa nomads. A long, flowing desert robe, generally sewn with bullet-proof ceramic plates covering the heart and guts. The outsides of these garments are blue to match the Vaarnish sands, but the inner linings are woven with colourful family symbols and religious sigils that protect a Faa warrior from spiritual harm.
Amaranthine Cowl – the cowl of the dreaded Amaranthine Death-Worm that haunts the trackless Vaarnish Interior. Hunting and killing these extremely venomous creatures is a feat attempted by only the bravest Faa warriors, and wearing the worm’s purple-red skin as a helm and cape is an honour afforded to few.
Lamellar Jazerant – a protective coat, made from many small plates of metal sewn together into horizontal rows, which are enveloped by a double layer of leather or canvas. The interior plates are often fashioned from scavenged sky-iron or glaucous brass, and these jackets are favoured by camel-mounted Faa nomads, Hegemony rangers, and anyone else who needs to balance agility with protection.
Adamant Linen – a peculiar cloth. Garments made from this alchemically-treated textile are as light and breathable as linen, but resist blades and bullets as though they were woven from steel. The secret of Adamant Linen’s production has been lost with the Fall of the Autarchs; therefore cloaks and tunics made from this material are highly sought-after in Vaarn, as the linen is both breathable and light, and offers excellent protection, ideal for a dangerous desert landscape.
Nanoweave Gambeson – nanoweave is another cloth of the ancients, a glossy and slightly oily-looking textile that seems to be nearly indestructible – the cloth cannot burn, nor can it be torn, and the passing of millennia seems to have frayed it little. Nanoweave garments are frequently found in the wind-scoured ruins that predate the Titanomachy, and common soldiers of Vaarn wear padded doublets that are sewn from stiff leather and then stuffed with handfuls of nanoweave cloth.
Gitch Garter – while not exactly armour, the practise of binding one’s thighs with gitch garters is a time honored protective tradition in Vaarn. ‘The Gitch’ is the common name for the malignant nanotech crystal structures that afflict biological organisms in Vaarn. Gitch-crystals are presumed to be some remnant weapon from the great wars that rent the Urth in eras past, or perhaps residual medical nanotech that has forgotten its original purpose. They infect the flesh and construct painful fractal growths beneath the dermis, sometimes proving fatal. As there is no obvious reason why some individuals suffer terribly from this crystalline affliction, while others never catch the gitch, various superstitions have collected around the disease. Many hold that the gitch is contracted through the soles of the feet and spreads up the body from there, and thus garters of specially-treated cloth are often worn by travellers in an attempt to stop the crystals rising through their blood.
Dazzle Plate – designed for battles with opponents that utilise laser weapons, suits of Dazzle Plate ardently reflect every possible wavelength of light, a protective ward of unparalleled incandescence that best befits a warrior who has no intention of ever hiding from his foe.
Basilisk Helm – a helm used by the brave specialists who hunt predatory synths. Basilisk patterns are flickering fractal codes that can lock synthetic brains into inescapable logic loops, effectively paralysing the thinking machine or sometimes killing it outright. These masked helms will project such fractal patterns across one’s face, putting synthetic opponents at a significant disadvantage.
Symbiotic Psuedodermis – a living, symbiotic coat of psuedoflesh that binds to the wearer’s skin and bonds with their nervous system. Psuedodermis armour is light-weight, flexible, astoundingly resistant to force, and boosts the wearer’s immune system, allowing the increased endurance of corrosive gases, neurotoxins, and acidic substances. The downside is that once neuro-bonded, the symbiotic armour can never be removed, irrevocably altering the wearer’s body. The host of the symbiotic armour must also adjust their intake of calories, in order to keep their new skin healthy and in fighting shape. Biotechnology of this type was perfected during the reign of the Titans, and all extant samples of this armour have been retrieved from the deepest war-vaults beneath Vaarn.
Warding Field – another innovation of the ancient civilisations that predated the Fall of the Titans. Warding fields are force bubbles that are projected from a small golden amulet worn on a warrior’s body, generally at the belt. A warding field nullifies the kinetic energy of projectiles that pass through it, rendering bows, slings, explosives, and firearms useless against an opponent who bears one.
Although complete invulnerability to gunfire is a great advantage in any battle, these amulets do not confer their user with immortality, as the warding field has several exploitable weaknesses. It robs high-velocity projectiles of their force, but is not triggered by harmful objects moving at a slower speed, and trained warriors are able to harm those who wear a warding field by slowing their strikes as their weapon’s blade passes through the field. During the peak of the warding field’s military use, there were entire schools of swordsmanship devoted to such martial arts, and these techniques are still practiced in Vaarn today.
Secondly, the field does not protect against noxious gases, harmful spores, or radiation, all of which became common battlefield weapons when these fields were fashionable. Most importantly, warding fields are known to react unpredictably to laser beams, with potentially catastrophic results for both the field-bearer and the wielder of the laser weapon. This instability was increasingly exploited by assassins, who devoted great ingenuity to finding methods by which an important personage’s warding fields could be caused to interact with a laser beam. Nevertheless, these fields are still considered desirable, and are often utilised by the nobility of the New Hegemony.